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PG-24
11-09-2012, 07:49 AM
Wrote this myself, so no link. Have plenty sitting on my computer, just trying to hook up a blog site to post them on. But basically, my viewpoint.

Life After Granger Looks A Lot Like Life With Granger

The Indiana Pacers entered the 2012-2013 season with a legitimate shot at winning the Central division. Since Derrick Rose was out indefinitely, their main competition for that spot was a bit hobbled. They brought in a few pieces to upgrade their bench (Gerald Green, DJ Augustin and Ian Mahimni) as that was the Achilles heel in plenty of their losses. Entering preseason without star Danny Granger, hopes were that it was just his usual preseason setback and we would be good to go by seasons start. Yet, on the eve of opening night, Danny Granger was declared OUT indefinitely, with a knee injury. The panic button started flashing red, waiting for Pacer fans to act accordingly. Five games in, the panic button has been smashed through the floor, but for the very wrong reasons.
Donít get me wrong, Danny Granger is and has been a huge part of the success Indiana had last year, and oftentimes the lone bright spot on some pretty terrible teams. But his loss isnít the biggest problem, and if you look closely, through 5 games, the Pacers are suffering through the same exact problems that they faced last year. Grangers 18 point per game average isnít exactly ďeasyĒ to replace. The Pacers, under Frank Vogel, normally ride the hot hand, and to be completely honest, running the offense through Granger wasnít the most efficient option either. His guaranteed 15-20 points will be missed, but with West another year removed from his ACL tear, Roy Hibbert peaking, and Paul George looking to turn the corner, itís realistic that a bump in all of their stats could help lessen the blow. So, not having Grangers 18 PPG still hurts a little, but I beg someone to tell me how Granger affects the following:

In the game vs the Atlanta Hawks, the Pacers started well, but got down in the 3rd quarter. Down big, they stormed back, scoring 18 straight at one point to take a nice double digit lead going into the 4th. Just when all the fans, took a huge deep sigh of relief, the Atlanta Hawks stormed back in the 4th with an 18-0 run to match Indianaís run in the 3rd quarter, holding Indiana to 9 points in the quarter. If anyone recalls last yearís Pacers team, with Danny Granger, a 5-7minute scoring drought in every game was almost a given and that has carried over into this year. The proof is in the pudding: Spurs game- Basket scored with 1:20 left in the 1st quarter, next basket scored with 6:52 left in the 2nd. Kings game- 2nd quarter bucket was scored at 7:20, next point scored at 3:05. As far as last year, pick a game out a hat, and thereís probably a big scoring drought. I think the points clear here. Whether in a blowout or a 1 pt game, a Pacers scoring drought is bound to happen; the only thing you could hope, as a Pacer and a Pacers fan, was that it didnít happen at a crucial moment of the game.

Defensively, the Pacers are one of the best and stingiest teams in the league, except when it comes to small, quick guards. With teams sending out smaller guards every year, itís a huge mismatch for Indiana, even though one of their better defenders plays the SG. The problem? Paul George is now 6í10, maybe 6í11 and guarding someone thatís 6 to 7 inches shorter than you, is a huge mismatch when it comes to speed and quickness. Regardless of how good a defender, youíd have to be amazingly quick at 6Ď10 to even keep up with them, which isnít necessarily Paul Georgeís strength. So when you have guards like Kemba Walker (30 points), Marcus Thornton (26 points), Kyle Lowry (21 points) and Kyle Korver (13 points, but fueled the 4th quarter run), Indiana is at an automatic disadvantage. Now, I understand Lowry isnít a 2 guard, and Korverís not small and ďquickĒ but they both fit the mold for the type of players Indiana has difficulty guarding. George Hill struggles guarding quicker PGs and everyone on the team struggles defending players running off screens. Outside of getting the run around by smaller guards this year, our pick and roll defense is by far the worst Iíve seen. It turned Glen Davis into a playoff star last year, and has almost been a guaranteed score against Indiana this year as well. The philosophy is common but the execution: poor. All of our big men are very slow footed, so when they have to show on pick and rolls, it takes them a split second too long to get back to their defender. I think this also has to do with our guards not being able to or not willing to fight through screens.

Lastly, is the Pacers offensive execution. The final possession against Atlanta resembles Indiana every time they come up the court. With or without Granger, Indiana doesnít make an attacking move until 10 or 11 seconds are left on the shot clock. Often time, itís George Hill dribbling at the top of the key until the clock counts down to 11. Then itís another three seconds of Indiana attempting an entry pass or multiple ball fakes to the post. Weíve now got Indiana, with only one pass in the possession, with 8 seconds left on the clock and absolutely nothing setup. This happened last year WITH Granger and the same exact things are happening without. I figured Brian Shaw would have more of an impact on the Pacersí offense, but that doesnít seem to be the case. The stagnant offense and scoring droughts are tied directly to the Pacers inability or refusal, to start their offense earlier, which would give them better and more looks at the basket. This is also the reason why we have been, and are again, one of the worst assisting teams in the league. Assists are easy buckets, and easy buckets are what Indiana does not get. I also imagine a rise in assist numbers would minimize the scoring droughts.

So sure, Danny Grangers out, and itís a pretty big deal for Indiana. Is it a perfect chance for Paul George to step up? Sure is. Is it an opportunity for Hibbert to become dominant. Absolutely. Is there an open door to have a more flexible, less predictable offense? Without a doubt. But none of these things happening, yet. We have to keep in mind, Indiana is only 7 or 8 days removed from learning that Granger would be out for a long time. Give them some time to adjust and hit a groove, which I believe they will. But while people are talking about panicking because Granger is gone, you must ask: will he be able to defend smaller, quicker guards? Will he stop the scoring droughts that have been the norm since Frank Vogel took over? Will he get his team in more efficient offensive sets? The answer is no. These three problems are much more of an issue than missing Granger, because when Granger comes back, every single one of these issues, will still be an issue.

Solutions? Very simple and probably unpopular. Move Paul George to the SF. It leaves for better matchups defensively, as he will be guarding wings more his size. He may be outweighed by some forwards, but that you deal with. Make a roster spot for free agent Delonte West. Sure, heís a nutcase. But Iím of believe that every team needs at least one nutcase to keep them on edge; but that is besides the fact. Delonte West is an excellent defender, and can guard 1s, 2s and smaller threes. It would be a great addition from a basketball standpoint, allowing him, George Hill and DJ Augustin to rotate between the point and 2 guard spots. Gerald Green continues to come off the bench, where he is better suited. Lance Stephenson has been a pleasant surprise, providing a spark in games for Indiana, making great passes and attacking the basket. In my scenario, Delonte would step in as the starting 2 guard once he is acclimated enough with the defense. Thereís nothing to learn on the offensive side, so he wonít be far behind there either. Delonte isnít a player that can put a team over the top, but he improves a glaring area of weakness, immediately, and with the Central division up for grabs, I make the move.

31andonly
11-09-2012, 08:18 AM
Solutions? Trade for this Collison guy from Dallas.





Sorry to annoy you...not very helpful, but I'm pissed to say the least.

McKeyFan
11-09-2012, 09:10 AM
Nice article PG-24.

Not sure about the last paragragh. I'd rather see if Lance can step up then take a risk on Delonte. Lance has more upside and possibly less headcase issues ;)

This paragraph is excellent. I truly don't understand why we don't start our offense more quickly.

Often time, it’s George Hill dribbling at the top of the key until the clock counts down to 11. Then it’s another three seconds of Indiana attempting an entry pass or multiple ball fakes to the post. We’ve now got Indiana, with only one pass in the possession, with 8 seconds left on the clock and absolutely nothing setup. This happened last year WITH Granger and the same exact things are happening without. I figured Brian Shaw would have more of an impact on the Pacers’ offense, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The stagnant offense and scoring droughts are tied directly to the Pacers inability or refusal, to start their offense earlier, which would give them better and more looks at the basket.

wintermute
11-09-2012, 12:20 PM
Interesting thoughts but I'm not sure I agree with your analysis :)

Your contention I think is that the Pacers' struggles are 1) due to getting killed by quick guards; and 2) stagnant offense, and that Danny Granger couldn't have helped with either. On the first point, the Pacers' defense seems just fine in the macro sense (we're actually 6th in the league in defensive efficiency - 9th if you're looking at opponent PPG), and I'd blame Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker going off more on George Hill's bad hip than anything else. Thornton and Korver, on the other hand, shot poor percentages, so it was ok for the Pacers' defense to let them shoot.

The real problem is that the Pacers haven't been able to score, which brings us to your second point. Our offense looks ugly true, but it was that way last year too, when our offensive efficiency was 7th in the league. In short, our offense was ugly but effective last year. This year though, our offensive efficiency has plummeted to 27th (out of 30). In other words, our offense is just plain ugly now.

So the question to ask is, what made our offense effective last year but changed this year? I'd point to 2 indicators - turnovers and FT rate. Last year, our offense was built on getting to the line, offensive rebounding, and protecting the ball. It shouldn't surprise that we ranked 2nd, 5th, and 7th respectively, at FT ratio, offensive rebounding, and turnovers. This year, we're still a strong o-reb team (6th in the league), but our FT ratio and turnovers have fallen off precipitously (20th and 28th, respectively). And yes, we're still a bad shooting team.

On turnovers, part of it is because we have 7 new players on the roster. If you dive deeper in the numbers though, you'd see that a huge chunk of turnovers are coming from Paul George (4.2 TO/game) and Gerald Green (2.4 TO/game). For reference, Danny averaged 1.8 TOs last year, and Paul himself averaged just 1.8 too in a lesser role. Clearly this is an effect of Danny's absence - George and Green are being force-fed Danny's role, and they are totally unprepared for it.

Free throws are another issue. Granger has a reputation of being a shooter, but he actually has a very nice FTA rate, averaging 4.7 FTA last year. In comparison, George and Green are each averaging 1.6 FTA/game. It doesn't help that Roy Hibbert's rate has also fallen. The Pacers aren't getting to the line, and IMO this means less pressure on the defense, and I think that's why our 3P% is so bad right now.

So sorry, I don't see how Delonte is going to help much. What we really need IMO is another player who can be lead scorer and who can get to the line. Unfortunately, these guys tend to be stars or quasi-stars (think guys like Gallo or Monta Ellis), so it won't be easy to acquire them. The Pistons' Stuckey actually fits this description as well - with Detroit's bad start, he could become available should Detroit decide to go full tanking mode. I wouldn't count on it though. Hoping for Lance to improve seems as good a plan as any, along with hoping Paul George starts turning into a player more like Granger on offense.

MillerTime
11-09-2012, 01:03 PM
Delonte West is not the solution. Hes far from it.

We deal with what we have. Dallas is doing fine without their star player...we got to do the same.